By Tibe

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In the wave of games released in 1993, players discovered the first VS fighting game from Atlus: Power Instinct. Will this game, strong with 115MB, manage to equal World Heroes 2, released the same year? The 68k-based hardware that runs Power Instinct is close to the Neo Geo: its CPU is clocked at 12Mhz too, but without using a 4Mhz Zilog in addition. A chip is dedicated to the sound, as for SNK's system. The game runs in 320x224, against 304x224 for World Heroes 2, which is not using the maximum resolution of the machine. WH2 displays 4096 colors against half of this for Atlus' game, and a 146 Mb rom against 115 'only' for Power Instinct.

GRAPHICS

First observation, the sprites are approximately the same size. And for the total number of backgrounds in each games, here's a gap: more than twenty-five for World Heroes 2 against only nine in Power Instinct! While the stages are a little larger in the latter, it's still way too short to compete with its rival. Qualitatively, it's also very different. WH2 is fine, colorful, the various themes chosen for the backgrounds are well chosen and the depth sensation is excellent. Only certain sets are somewhat mediocre (J.Maximum, Ryoko) but all other stages are showing an outstanding quality, and different times and places give the whole a nice exotic feeling. Power Instinct is made of more basic drawings, but that's what makes its charm. The characters are less beautiful, the backgrounds more basic, but overall it does not lack style nor color, although it's looking a little more dull sometimes. But the most important is the graphics have a personality of their own, a recognizable style fun and original. However, this is a good notch below ADK's work here.

WORLD HEROES 2 ...................92%

POWER INSTINCT...................80%

ANIMATION

The least we can say is that the game of Atlus is very dynamic! First, the stages are lively: public gesticulating frantically, dwarf referees doing funny tricks, and so many other elements in the background always in motion (buffalo herd, leaves, lightning). The attention to detail is palpable, and it's made clear the programmers were damn applied. The pace is speedy, a little more than in World Heroes 2, which is far to be slow anyway! On its side, ADK did a lot of work, with a line by line ground scrolling for every stage, backgrounds also very alive, but above all an animation more decomposed than its competitor for every character.

WORLD HEROES 2 ...................87%

POWER INSTINCT...................82%

SOUND

Where World Heroes offers only basic themes, Power Instinct is totally bluffing the player with its shifted musics. The atmosphere is great in this game, and this is due in large part to the completely crazy soundtrack! It goes from some hard-rock arrangements to japanese traditional melodies, through crazy singers unleashing their power. However, ADK's experience can be felt on the sound effects, and World Heroes 2 benefit this wisdom. Impact sounds are powerful, the effects well chosen and vocals are legion! But here, Atlus did even better: the sounds of Power Instinct are at least as good, but digits and voices they are fabulous. The acting is memorable, and those who have lent their voices to the characters deserve an Oscar... the one of the best dubber on acids!

WORLD HEROES 2 ...................81%

 POWER INSTINCT...................90%

REPLAY VALUE

Fun and originality is great, but replay value brings us back on Earth... Power Instinct's roster, with eight warriors, is just average compared to what was done one year before (Art of Fighting - eight characters, Fatal Fury 2- eight characters, Mortal Kombat - seven characters, Burning Rival -eight characters) and only Street Fighter II Turbo has exceeded this standard with twelve fighters. The heroes of Atlus are almost all interesting to play and the game is way too hard to finish, the CPU being a real bitch. World Heroes 2 hits very, very hard that year: its roster packs no less than fourteen characters! To clear the game, we will have to overcome ten opponents plus two Bosses, against only nine opponents for its rival's challenge. In addition, you can play Death Match mode or Normal, two differents way to play that provide even more diversity.

WORLD HEROES 2 ...................93%

POWER INSTINCT....................72%

GAMEPLAY

Power Instinct features a four-buttons game system, combos, throws, a lot of special moves per fighter, double jump for everyone, but also dash, dodge... all this providing a gameplay quite complex and packing a significant room for improvement. World Heroes 2 uses three buttons with the power of blows depending on the pressure applied. The game contains a little less special moves for each warrior than Power Instinct. The combos are also present, the gameplay is complete but a little bit easier - but way more accessible - than in Power Instinct. Two interesting technical gestures make their appearance: the 'counter-throw', or the possibility when an opponent grabs you to make a decision, to invert the process at the right time by pressing the right button; there's also the ability to send back a projectile (fireball, shuriken, etc) by blocking at the last second. A kind of "Just Defended" before the time! The controls  are responding well and the game is accurate. Death Match is a real plus: opponents share the same life bar and can recover when knocked down, by strafing the stick. Stages are decorated accordingly: pikes, electrified fences, fire ring, etc.. In WH2 you'll have to fight two Bosses against one in PI. More, this one is almost unplayable, as the CPU is totally unbeatable, and it's almost the same for the final boss of ADK's soft.

WORLD HEROES 2 ...................85%

POWER INSTINCT...................84%

CONCLUSION

World Heroes 2 wins this match, but its opponent did pretty good for a rookie! For the first game of a saga, and in this case the first VS fighting game ever made by Atlus, the performance is outstanding. The game is well made and technical, and even pays the luxury of being original and have its own personality. ADK makes all the difference with a little more experience and a far superior roster, coupled with a top realization for a game of 1993.

WORLD HEROES 2

 89%


POWER INSTINCT

81%


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